Guy Montgomery will admit that he was part of the problem before we were talking about it. In I Was Part Of The Problem Before We Were Talking About It, Montgomery brilliantly navigates the problems of today’s society and tackles the idea of shame, owning up and growing up. Huge topics cleverly and expertly covered from the perspective of the self-admitted privileged. Montgomery may be a white, straight, middle-class man, but he has some things to say and they are most definitely worth hearing.
Montgomery nimbly leaps from idea to idea, elegantly vacillating between serious and humourous in a heartbeat. Any time the mood drops, he brings it back up with a well-timed joke. He takes on the biggest and most fraught issues and gets away with it because he does it breathtakingly well and is incredibly likable. His genuine vulnerability and the fact the show comes from personal experience prevents it from becoming a self-aggrandizing rant. It feels honest and is so perfectly written. Montgomery is quick, clever and absurdly funny. He appears to go off on tangents, but it always returns to the heart of the show. It’s a tangled, layered maze of jokes and truth, or the combination of both.
By being vulnerable, Montgomery inspires us to be too and I was shocked by how honest the audience was. At the end, he stands at the door and hands out bits of paper, written on by other members of the audience at the beginning (whoever wrote the one I got, I want to hug you). It’s a chance for self-reflection. We’ve all done things we aren’t proud of, and Montgomery tells us some of his, honestly and bluntly.
This show could be dark or heavy, but somehow isn’t at all. The audience walked out smiling and laughing. It feels like a show of absolution, where we can all acknowledge our past misdeeds, then grow from them. While that might not sound like a barrel of laughs, it is liberating and peppered with more than enough laughs not to turn the hour into an over-extended TED talk.
It’s a rare gift to be able to write a show so serious and yet so uplifting. But Montgomery is talented and pulls it off without a hitch. It would be a shame to miss it.
I Was Part Of The Problem Before We Were Talking About It is on at Mantra on Russell.
A sold out Saturday night crowd converged on the Melbourne Town Hall’s magnificent Portico Room for an hour with New Zealand comic Guy Montgomery. A mid seventies version of The Hustle greeted the audience pre-show, and set the tempo for what would be a fast paced hour of stand-up.
Guy Montgomery has all the necessary skills for his chosen profession. He is affable, has a delightful turn of phrase, and great energy. He moves his show along at a cracking pace, making sure he’s bringing his audience along with him for the ride.
He’s also a man of his word. At the risk of needing a spoiler alert, the title of the show turns out to be entirely correct. He starts by reverently placing his phone to one side, and manages not to refer to it for the next hour. He helps the audience to match his heroics via the use of a large analogue clock, which he brings on to allay any need to reach for one’s phone. And this leads him neatly into a discussion on technological addiction, then into the rest of his set.
I was a little disappointed by his choice of material. After some initial stuff on fridge contents and grocery shopping, the show shifted to reflections on his career in comedy thus far. His experiences on the MICF Comedy Road Show, and in trying his luck in the New York comedy scene provided him with a rich source of material – but I found that the particular anecdotes he chose to share from those situations were a bit passé. Smile-worthy, yes. Chortle-worthy, sometimes. But I felt the routine lacked the big laugh lines which should have resulted from his impressive story telling capacities. Fortunately, his genial demeanour kept the audience well and truly on his side.
There are some powerful messages underpinning this routine about loneliness, and the need for connection in times of failure. Montgomery explores these with a charming self deprecation and candour.
I’m sure this set will appeal to many, and many will relate to his keen observations. I will certainly look forward to seeing what he brings to future festivals.
The 32nd Melbourne International Comedy Festival has been officially
Launched for 2018. Hosted by comedy legends Lano & Woodley, their reunion this year, after 12 years apart, in their new show Fly is one of the big thrills causing quite a buzz in a gigantic, exciting programme. There are more than 620 shows in this years festival. Some of the shows are encore performances and others that we Squirrels managed to catch and review at other festivals.
Feel free to click on the links below and read what we thought of these earlier iterations, keeping in mind that festival shows are ever evolving beasts that change and develop over time, so the new version may be quite different to one we saw.
See a favourite off the telly, See someone you’ve never heard of. Most of all have a wonderful time and keep an eye on Squirrel Comedy as the new reviews roll in and we keep you up to date on what’s happening via our Social Media.
After being nominated for Best Newcomer at last year’s MICF, Guy Montgomery is back with his likeable, boisterous style of stand-up in Let’s All Get In A Room Together. It’s a delightfully silly, crowd-pleasing hour from a confident performer.
Montgomery is at his best when he’s riffing in between his longer chunks of storytelling. His patter up top about the room, his fancy water and the joys of the Yarra River was hilarious and grabbed the attention of the audience early. There’s no particular theme to Let’s All Get In A Room Together. Montgomery discusses a whole range of topics, from his accommodation situation here in Melbourne to his sexual awakening as a young boy in New Zealand. It’s all delivered with a level of enthusiasm and energy that’s utterly contagious. Montgomery had the sold-out room chuckling the whole way through.
There were a few minor bumps in what was otherwise a very strong show. Some of the stories in Let’s All Get In A Room Together strike an odd tone – they’ve got enough weird details to be unbelievable but don’t push that weirdness hard enough to be completely surreal. Another discordant note came about three quarters of the way through the show, when Montgomery told a joke that neatly tied up all the threads he had discussed so far. It felt like a natural ending point, so when the show continued on it felt overly long, despite the material in the final minutes being of quite a high quality.
Let’s All Get In A Room Together is thoroughly entertaining and Guy Montgomery is a stand-up with a lot of promise. Pacing quibbles aside, Montgomery has got buckets of charisma and will no doubt get bigger and better in coming years.
Snort are a bunch of up-and-coming New Zealand comedians, banding together to do some great longform improv. With a rotating cast of performers and guest monologists every night, no two shows will be the same. I caught a performance where the cast included Rose Matafeo, Guy Montgomery, Donna Brookbanks, Alice Snedden, Tom Sainsbury and Brynley Stent.
With Friends runs the Armando improv format. One person will deliver a monologue prompted by a word provided by the audience, and then the team will perform scenes based on that monologue. On the evening I attended, there was a monologue from Snort member Alice Snedden, as well as from special guests Aaron Chen and Tom Walker. The best part of the stories is seeing how each performer interprets their prompt. “Kookaburra” led to a story about cricket gear, “pickle” to an in-depth description of a meal you can buy in Marrickville, and “abyss” to some bad wrestling gimmicks.
The Snort crew have a great rapport and play fast and loose with the format. Some of the best moments in the night came from scenes left to run a bit too long, confusing interactions and cast members throwing each other under the bus in general. This is clearly a group that is comfortable enough playing together that they know they can test each other’s limits. Stent was a standout as a maid/pickle saleswoman/camel saleswoman with an unplaceable broad accent. Sainsbury and Brookbanks were fantastic as a couple on the run after having a Christmas that was a little too “edgy”. Snort have hit a sweet spot with their improv – silly but not out-of-control, unpredictable yet skilful.
Snort With Friends is a wonderful hour of late-night mayhem and is a must-see for improv fans.
On Monday morning at the Spiegeltent the Nominees for the 2016 Melbourne International Comedy Festival Awards were Announced with the aid of Guest Barry Humphries. You may have heard of him, The Barry Award is named after him.
Congratulations to all the phenomenal Nominees!
The Golden Gibbo
Asher Treleaven & Gypsy Wood – Peter & Bambi Heaven – The Magic Inside
Luis Brown – Lessons With Luis
Tommy Dassallo – Little Golden Dassallo
Zoe Coombs Marr – Dave Trigger Warning
Demi Lardner – Life Mechanic
Guy Montgomery (NZ) – Guy Montcomedy
Tom Walker – Beep Boop
Rose Matafeo (NZ) – Finally Dead
The Barry Award
Zoe Coombs Marr – Dave Trigger Warning
Damien Power – Sell Mum into Slavery
Luisa Omielan (UK) – Am I Right Ladies?!
Tom Ballard – The World Keeps Happening
Anne Edmonds That’s Eddotainment
David O’Doherty (IRE) – We Are All In The Gutter, But Some Of Us Are Looking At David O’Doherty
Rhys Nicholson – Bone Fide
There are more Awards that will be announced next weekend.
Also RAW Comedy Award for 2016 was won by Danielle Walker from Victoria